PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager was scheduled to meet with a hand specialist in Phoenix on Saturday, and will likely be sidelined at least several days after injuring his left wrist while diving for a ball down the line in Friday night’s 9-3 loss to the Cubs.
Seager was removed from the game in the fourth inning after making his diving attempt, but indicated he thought the injury wasn’t serious at that time. The 31-year-old had the hand heavily wrapped after doing some therapy on Saturday morning, but X-rays were negative.
Manager Scott Servais said it’s too early to tell if Seager will be able to play in Japan when the Mariners open their regular season against the A’s in the Tokyo Dome in just 11 days. The team will fly to Japan on Thursday and play two exhibition games against the Yomiuri Giants before the Opening Series on March 20-21.
First baseman Ryon Healy started at third base in Saturday’s 2-0 Cactus League loss to the Dodgers in Glendale, though he didn’t get much action in the field while going 0-for-3 in six innings of work.
With first base a crowded spot on the roster with Daniel Vogelbach, Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce all seeing time there this spring, Healy was already slated to play third base on Saturday in a reserve role. But Servais bumped him into the starting lineup after Seager was sidelined and said he’ll continue to get more time there going forward.
Healy played two innings at third base last year for Seattle, but started 103 games there for the A’s in 2016-17.
“He’s played there before,” Servais said. “He’s certainly very comfortable at first base. We’ll give him a bunch of reps, he’ll get a lot of reps there now. I’m sure Kyle will be out a couple days at least.”
With Vogelbach out of Minor League options, Healy appears the odd man out in the first base battle initially, so third base could open an additional door.
“It is an opportunity for him,” said Servais. “He’s not Kyle. Kyle has won a Gold Glove over there and we certainly know what he’s capable of doing defensively. But Ryon will get comfortable back over there again. Ryon can really throw. He’s got a very good arm. It’s just handling the different plays and angles the ball is coming off the bat and getting back up to speed with that.”
The kids make their mark again
Jarred Kelenic isn’t even in Major League camp, but the Mariners’ new teenage outfield prospect -- their No. 2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline -- was called up as a reserve in Saturday’s loss to the Dodgers and made a nice play on a deep drive by David Freese in the sixth inning.
Kelenic got back to the wall and turned to make a half-leaping catch near the 410-foot marker in center. The 18-year-old walked in his lone plate appearance against reliever Parker Curry in the eighth in his first Cactus League at-bat.
Julio Rodriguez, the club’s other teen outfield sensation and No. 5 prospect, also made an appearance and struck out on three pitches in the seventh against Josh Sborz and then whiffed for the final out in the ninth with the tying runs in scoring position against Curry.
“Those kids have handled themselves really good, but it’s a little bit different,” Servais said. “They get a little exposed here, but it’s good experience for them. We certainly like them. They’ve got a long way to go, but they’ve certainly got the tools to play at this level.”
Erik Swanson, the club’s No. 9 prospect, allowed just two hits in 2 2/3 innings in his first Cactus League start, though both hits were home runs by Dodgers leadoff man Kike Hernandez. Swanson, acquired as part of the James Paxton deal with the Yankees, struck out four with no walks.
“I thought Swanson threw the ball really well,” Servais said. “He made two mistakes. He hung two sliders to the same guy and they both ended up in the same spot. But he got in a pretty good rhythm doing what he does. He looks much more comfortable starting than out of the bullpen.”
Upcoming pitching plans
All five members of the Mariners’ rotation will get starts in the final four days before the team flies to Japan on Thursday. Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake will both pitch in Sunday’s split-squad action, with Hernandez facing the Indians in Peoria and Leake traveling to Tempe to take on the Angels in 1:10 p.m. PT starts.
Wade LeBlanc then opens against the Royals on Monday night in Peoria, followed by Yusei Kikuchi on Tuesday against the White Sox in Glendale and Marco Gonzales finishing things up on Wednesday night against the Giants in Peoria.
Two other lefty starters -- No. 1 prospect Justus Sheffield and veteran Tommy Milone -- are tentatively slated to pitch in an intrasquad game on Tuesday morning in Peoria.
Hernandez will make his final Cactus League start in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. PT game on MLB.TV from Peoria against the Indians, with Justin Dunn -- the club’s No. 3 prospect, who was acquired from the Mets -- pitching in relief. Leake will start the other split-squad game against the Angels, a non-televised game that starts at the same time in Tempe.